Over 2,000 voters in Los Angeles County received “faulty” ballots which lacked a section to vote for the President of the United States, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office confirmed on Monday.
According to the Los Angeles Times, roughly 2,100 voters received the flawed ballots, missing the section to cast a vote for the office of the presidency. The outlet reported that the ballots were primarily confined to those in the Woodland Hills area.
“I’ve always been an in-person voter, so I wasn’t even planning on looking at the ballot until the day I was going to vote,” Woodland Hills resident Christy Gargalis said, explaining that she compared her ballot to her husband’s and sister’s ballots — both of which were missing the section to vote for the president as well.
“Something told me that this was a different election, a different year, and I just had to check my ballot, and I’m glad I did,” she said, adding that her “neighbors on Nextdoor all have the same problem.”
The massive error follows the executive order Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued in May, requiring the state to send all registered voters absentee ballots ahead of the November 3 election. He used the Chinese coronavirus as the primary reason to send ballots to roughly 21 million people in the Golden State.
“Elections and the right to vote are foundational to our democracy,” Newsom said at the time. “No Californian should be forced to risk their health in order to exercise their right to vote.”
“Today we become the first state in the nation to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by mailing every registered voter a ballot. We are meeting our obligation to provide an accessible, secure, and safe election this November,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said of the plan.
“Sending every registered voter a ballot by mail is smart policy and absolutely the right thing to do during this COVID-19 pandemic,” Padilla added.
Michael Sanchez, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County clerk’s office, apologized for the “mistake” regarding the botched ballots but added that it “impacted a very small number of Los Angeles County voters.”
“We are now in the process of alerting all affected voters in this precinct of the error by robocall and email, and tomorrow morning we will be mailing out new, corrected ballots with a letter describing the error,” Sanchez stated.
The “faulty” ballots serve as the latest example of vote-by-mail irregularities, feeding fears over the growing potential for mass fraud and error associated with mass mail-in voting. Hundreds of voters in New York’s Nassau County recently received ballots with the wrong oath envelope, attributed to a “printing error.” Meanwhile, the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is investigating after mail was stolen out of multiple collection boxes in the state.
“I don’t have any information whether the boxes contain any sort of election mail,” USPIS Inspector Michael Romano said in a statement.
“If we have any indication that it is, sort of, election fraud related, we are going to work closely with our counterparts at the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine what type of theft we have and aggressively investigate this case,” he added.